Julie Brannan, Solicitors Regulation Authority: It certainly is an important moment for the training of the profession, so it is sensible to start with a reminder of what it is all about. First, better assurance of high professional standards is at the heart of this. Protecting consumers of legal services by making sure everybody we admit as a solicitor is competent to practise is a core part of our regulatory duty. It is also the platform supporting the standing of the profession in this country and abroad. SQE [Solicitors Qualifying Examination] is about assuring high professional standards.
It is also the key that unlocks the possibility of greater flexibility in how people train. If we can be sure those who we admit have the right knowledge and skills to practise, we can open the market to much more flexibility of training. We would no longer need to prescribe particular routes to practice. We know there are people who want to qualify but get stuck. They might get stuck because they cannot afford the Legal Practice Course [LPC] or do not want to take the risk and pay for the LPC without a guarantee of a job at the end of it. We know there are people in the system who have the talent but cannot proceed. We want to do something about that.